|Author||Leslie A White|
One of the major works of twentieth-century anthropological theory, written by one of the disciplines most important, complex, and controversial figures.
One of the major works of twentieth-century anthropological theory, written by one of the discipline’s most important, complex, and controversial figures, has not been in print for several years. Now Evolution of Culture is again available in paperback, allowing today’s generation of anthropologists new access to Leslie White’s crucial contribution to the theory of cultural evolution. A new, substantial introduction by Robert Carneiro and Burton J. Brown assess White’s historical importance and continuing influence in the discipline. White is credited with reintroducing evolution in a way that had a profound impact on our understanding of the relationship between technology, ecology, and culture in the development of civilizations. A materialist, he was particularly concerned with societies’ ability to harness energy as an indicator of progress, and his empirical analysis of this equation covers a vast historical span. Fearlessly tackling the most fundamental questions of culture and society during the cold war, White was frequently a lightning rod both inside and outside the academy. His book will provoke equally potent debates today, and is a key component of any course or reading list in anthropological or archaeological theory and cultural ecology.